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Family skiing top tips

Top Tips for enjoying your family skiing holiday – make family skiing Sno good!

Secrets of great family skiing

Whether you’re all going on this journey of discovering skiing together, or you’re planning to impart some of your own enjoyment of skiing to your children, it can seem a challenge to ensure this first family ski holiday is a success. As parents who have been through the experience of the first family ski trip, and come out the other side gagging for more, we’re pleased to report that it’s probably the most fun you can have with the kids, once you know how to get geared up properly.

If you’ve enjoyed a skiing holiday with your family before, then you’ll probably be aware of the potential pitfalls that can turn a wonderfully exciting holiday, into a bit of a struggle. But forewarned is forearmed (and other such clichés including “be prepared” etc) so, for those on their first trip, below are some of our Top Tips to make sure that skiing with children is an exciting adventure that you enjoy together. The most important thing this list can do is to ensure you all have FUN, so that you all come back with excited stories and an appetite for more!

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Planning a family ski trip

  • Choose a child friendly resort. Resorts with good child care facilities, friendly ski schools, good beginner’s areas and plenty of activities off the slopes, all easily accessible. Read our family friendly ski resorts page for suggestions of some of the greats like Meribel and Val d'Isere.
  • Choose accommodation close to the slopes or with a courtesy bus, as you will have to carry their kit as well as your own at each end of the day, especially if they are quite young. If you have the budget its worth considering a ski in ski out chalet or ski in ski out hotel.
  • Family catered chalets are a good option for as you don’t have to worry about cooking breakfast and dinner and you can put the children to bed and still have your lovely dinner, knowing they are only a down the hall or up the stairs.
  • What kind of day care, lessons and kids clubs are you looking for, for your children? This may impact on your choice of holiday, there are options ranging from inclusive all day care to the most popular and simple 2 hour lessons with a ski school. There are also evening baby-sitting and children’s clubs in some accommodation.

Before you go:

  • Get the proper clothing to deal with the weather and make sure you’ll all be warm. Layering is the best way to ensure you can meet the temperatures adequately. A basic rule is, base layer or two, then a fleece and a snow suit or jacket and trousers. Read our family ski packing list for more details.
  • Talk about it long before you go, try on the gear and imagine what you will be doing. Build up the excitement.
  • Go for a beginners taster sessions at a dry slope or snow dome near you. Let your children try on the gear, walk around in it and try sliding around. It will be great for their confidence and will mean they won’t have as much to take in and get used to when they get out on their first day.
  • If your children need instruction, seriously consider sending them to lessons with a professional outfit, it will be worth it for your sanity and their speed of learning. Children tend to learn better with other children and away from the critical eyes of their parents. The added bonus is that you get to have some time on your own skiing.
  • Arrange your child care well in advance as these services get booked up really quickly, especially around peak dates and school holidays. Speak to our specialists about childcare when choosing your family ski package.

Family skiing top tips

  • Getting a catered chalet with other families that you know, under sole occupancy, gives you a lot of flexibility especially around mealtimes and makes for a relaxed home away from home environment.
  • Consider arranging your ski holiday with another family and all take turns to do the child minding. You could also look into sharing private lessons, as this could be much more cost effective. The latest trend is to take grandparents even if they don’t ski as handling the childcare in such a magical mountain environment is a great adventure for them too (see our ski resorts for non-skiers for suggestions).
  • Lessons can also be booked privately, and may be more cost effective when tailored to your children’s needs, especially if you are travelling in a group
  • Take spare socks, mittens and hats in case they get wet or lost. Consider disposable hand and feet warmers.

When you get there:

  • Enquire about boot lockers at the lifts; it will make life a lot easier if you don’t have to carry kit to and from your accommodation every day.
  • Ask for whatever paper work you need to do ahead of time so that you can just get going on the day.
  • Try and get your boots and skis/snowboards the day you arrive so that your children can walk around in them and get used to the feel and make sure they are comfortable. Better to go back first thing the next morning, than to be half way up the mountain having to make your way back.
  • Attach your lift passes to your jackets, or put them in one pocket and use only that one.

Out on the slope

  • Be positive and enjoy the adventure
  • Dress for the cold: Remember good socks, gloves/mittens, goggles/sunglasses, hats/helmets.
  • Make sure everyone has their backpack with water, spares and snacks.
  • Be patient because things WILL take longer with so much to remember. Take that extra time to make sure you have all you need to ensure the best chances of having a great day out and not having to return early.
  • If your children are taking lessons, leave them to it, with some pocket money and your contact info.
  • Don’t push them too much; keep the focus on having fun rather than being good at it. If they are not keen the first day, leave it until the next morning and enrol him into something else for the day. It usually helps to take lessons, which need concentration and fresh legs, in the mornings.
  • Have a back-up plan if your child does not like the skiing after the first two lessons, but also try to help them enjoy it even if it takes a little longer to grasp.
  • When skiing with them yourself, make sure you know the terrain to be sure you are taking them where they will not only “manage” but really enjoy themselves.
  • If you’re teaching them yourself, invest in a leash or harness to keep hold of them and consider one of the “Edgie-Wedgie” devices which clip the ski tips together to help teach them to turn in their first snow ploughs (NB these are great for adults struggling to learn too).
  • Have fun and play games when you are out together skiing, here are some examples:
    • Stop and Go (red light/green light)
    • How many turns can you do before we get to the .......? (good for improving speed control).
    • Count how many people they pass or that pass them (good for increasing their awareness).
    • Choose meeting/stopping point.
    • Do stop and have a frolic in the snow if they seem tired.
  • Drink water, beware of dehydration!

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